Amid their reportage on the Sushant Singh Rajput's death and Rhea Chakraborty's alleged involvement in the case, Republic TV said that the state's ruling party Shiv Sena has made "shocking and brazen attempt" to block the right to report as the party has issued threats to cable networks in Maharashtra to block the channel from people's TV.
The Shiv Cable Sena which is part of Shiv Sena, recently issued an order, signed by Sanjay Raut's brother Sunil Raut, who heads the organisation.
This comes after the network's reporter Anuj Kumar, video journalist Yashpaljit Singh and Ola cab driver Pradeep Dilip Dhanavade were taken into "illegal police custody" and sent to 4 days of custody.
The network said its reporting team was "following a journalistic lead in an investigative assignment" in Karjat in Raigad.
"In what is the biggest clampdown on the right to report, the Republic team was apprehended and thrown into jail for 4 days after making an enquiry with a security guard of a certain residence. We are shocked that the Republic team was denied any legal representation before being sent to 4 days of custody," it said.
Now, Arnab issued a statement over the release of the journalists and the threat issued to cable networks. "Uddhav Thackeray, release my journalists. You have broken the law and we will not allow this illegality. You didn't write the Constitution and you have no right to turn it upside down. Your party has sent letters to cable operators to illegally blackout Republic. You are allowing and approving a series of illegalities. Release my journalists immediately and perform your constitutional duty by arresting your party leaders who have been caught red-handed sending threats to cable operators.
I am a Mumbaikar. I have built Republic with hard work and effort. You cannot touch our network. The people of Mumbai, Maharashtra and India are with us. Uddhav Thackeray, release my journalists immediately. And arrest your party leaders who are issuing threats to blackout the distribution of Republic Bharat. If you don’t, I will fight you in both the courts of public opinion and our country’s highest courts," Arnab Goswami said.
Amid the debacle, the channel even sent out a #CantBlockRepublic petition "appealing to the people of India to come forward and join the fight for the right to report in a free democratic country."
Well, netizens are now backing Arnab Goswami and his team and soon #CantBlockRepublic was trending on Twitter.